France Sees Many Internet Complaints

PARIS (07/06/2000) - France saw the number of complaints to the French Computer Rights and Regulation Commission (Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, CNIL) double in the past five years.

In its annual report, Michel Gentot, the president of CNIL, said that most of the 3,508 complaints that have been recorded concern, "in decreasing order," spam, banking and work. Gentot thinks it is a sign of general anxiety and that it is due to "the effect of new technologies on freedom and privacy," he said.

The problems are primarily caused by spamming -- the transmission of unsolicited e-mail -- because of arbitrary proliferation of personal data. "The bulk of the complaints comes from the non-respect of the right to keep your files confidential," Gentot said.

Also, a newer problem is the use by companies of cybersurveillance of their employees.

Finally, on the political side, another subject of complaint is the use of census data by financial agencies to prepare statistical studies -- thankfully, guarded by CNIL. But Gentot insists that the CNIL reports are not shared with "Big Brother." Not yet!